The Dutch national convicted last month in the "sextortion" of Port Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd will have to wait three more weeks for his sentence.
On Tuesday (Sept. 20), BC Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin adjourned the four-day hearing to the week after Thanksgiving, Oct. 11–14, after the lead prosecutor, Louise Kenworthy, tested positive that morning for COVID-19.
Kenworthy appeared by video as the judge, the three other prosecutors and three defence counsel met in Courtroom 209 at the New Westminster Law Courts on what was supposed to be the first day of the sentencing hearings.
Aydin Coban, 44, of the Netherlands, was also in the prisoner’s box to hear the judge’s decision on the delay. Dressed in the same navy blue shirt and black pants he wore during the 10-week jury trial, Coban showed no emotion as the sentencing dates were moved.
Coban is convicted on five counts:
- importing and distributing child pornography
- possession of child pornography
- communicating with the intent to lure a child
- criminal harassment
Kenworthy told Devlin that Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers “are far apart in sentencing submissions.”
During next month’s sentencing, the judge will hear from both sides, as well as from Amanda Todd’s parents, Norm and Carol Todd — each of whom will read victim impact statements.
Before Tuesday’s hearing, Carol Todd said that she was anxious about the reading her statement.
She also told media that she researched online about sentences rendered in previous sextortion cases in Canada and the United States, and was disappointed with the results.
Still, "I'm hoping, with all the evidence, that Justice Devlin can make a good decision that we’ll all be happy with."
Asked by the Tri-City News what that would be for her, Carol Todd responded, "It's a close of a chapter because there's more work to be done in the areas of exploitation and sextortion on children and predators around the world."
"What that looks like for me is Aydin Coban will be kept in prison and off the streets. He won't be there to re-offend, and children will be safer for many years to come," she added.
"That, in my heart, is what’s been driving me, is that he will continue to be incarcerated in prison and we can all sleep a bit sounder; however, [like] Mr. Coban, there are thousands of predators out there that we need to make people aware of; and how easy it is to fall down that hole, how easy it is to convince a child just to be friendly with someone online and then move into the next stages."
During the trial, the jury heard how Coban had lured Amanda Todd online, starting in November 2009 when she was 11, persuaded her to expose herself and distributed those images to her friends and family via her social media channels.
Coban, using 22 fake aliases, continued with his "persistent campaign of online sextortion" against Todd until 2012, the Crown Counsel said during the trial, and followed her as she changed homes, municipalities and schools.
According to a Facebook security report obtained by the Tri-City News, Coban was known for:
- blackmailing girls for child exploitation images and videos
- soliciting, creating and distributing child exploitation content
- blackmailing men into sending money to avoid compromising sexual images and videos from being distributed to friends and family
At least 20 victims were from the U.K.
In the case in involving Amanda Todd, who was Coban’s only victim to die, expert witnesses for the Crown, including police officers from the Netherlands, Canada and Australia, testified that Coban used the dark web, virtual private networks and scrubbing software on his multiple devices to hide his identity.
On Tuesday, Todd cited a case in St. Paul, Minn., where on Sept. 14, a 31-year-old man was sentenced to 43 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to
- two counts of production of child pornography
- one count of possession of child pornography
- one count of interstate communications with intent to extort
The American court heard how Yue Vang targeted more than 1,100 victims in 42 countries, including 500 girls across the U.S. in a years-long online sextortion scheme.
"When you read the description, it was exactly what Aydin Coban did, so the predators are out there," Todd said.
"It's up to us as a whole, as a global community, to make sure we bring awareness and build education out there."